when i was a tiny baby queer (aka a 24-year-old), i went to my first pride festival probably three months after i kicked ex-gay therapy to the curb and came out to my parents. being the people they are, my parents came with me. they weren’t really sure about this whole gay thing, but they loved me and wanted me to be safe and happy and wanted to be involved in what was important to me, so they came along. (i also think my mother still might have thought i might get drugged or murdered or beaten by a protester of which there were plenty.)
anyway i wanted a memento of my first pride, you know, and this one vendor was selling keyrings, and i liked it, so i bought one. do you remember those italian charm bracelets that were all the rage like 10-15 years ago? it was a keychain like that, and it had a rainbow rooster, a rainbow cat, and then just a rainbow, and so I bought it.
i run into my mom a couple of vendors over and she goes oh you bought something? what’d you get? so i showed her, and i was like, “I’m not sure why it’s a rooster and a cat. Seems kind of random. But I liked the rainbows.”
and my mom, who was some form of minister’s wife for most of my childhood and teenagerhood, stares at me like she thinks i’m joking.
“What?” i say.
“…it’s a cock and a pussy, Jules,” she says flatly, and that is the story of how i died at the age of 24 while attending my first pride festival.